The prettiest conservatories in London

Find much more than tomato plants in these glammed-up greenhouses around London
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
By Katherine Lovage and Things To Do Editors |

London is blooming with conservatories that bring a whole new meaning to the term ‘urban jungle’. It’s easy to enjoy the great outdoors inside these glassy constructions that most DIY nuts could only dream of.

As well as being perfect pockets of leafy calm in the city, these magnificent conservatories house exotic plants, sun lounges and top-class restaurants, so whether you want your cappuccino with a side of cactus or a romantic dinner in an orangery, you’re sorted. If this is what a gardeners world looks like, you can count us in.

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London’s prettiest conservatories

Attractions, Parks and gardens

Temperate House, Royal Botanic Gardens

icon-location-pin Kew

The return of the newly restored Temperate House is a horticulturalist’s delight. It’s a grade I listed glasshouse, twice the size of Kew’s much-loved Palm House and after a major five-year renovation, opened its doors to the public again earlier this year. The intricate Victorian architecture has again been paired up with rare and wonderful plant species: more than 1,500 of them.

Barbican Conservatory
Attractions, Parks and gardens

Barbican Conservatory

icon-location-pin Barbican

This well-hidden and truly calming green oasis is home to more than 2,000 species of tropical plants, as well as some exciting-looking fish. It normally only opens on selected Sundays and bank holidays, but check before you set off. Make sure to book if you fancy their afternoon tea.

petersham nurseries
Restaurants, Contemporary European

Petersham Nurseries

icon-location-pin Petersham

The ultimate in rustic charm, complete with a real meadow on its doorstep, Petersham Nurseries is the perfect balm for the frazzled urbanite. Housed within the garden centre, the Café resembles a stately greenhouse, hung with Indian prints and pictures, and furnished with rickety tables and chairs.

Attractions, Parks and gardens

Palm House, Royal Botanic Gardens

icon-location-pin Kew

Kew’s iconic Victorian glasshouse is quite the stunner. During the winter months, it’s lit up in colour for the annual Christmas at Kew light show, but it’s eye-grabbing all year round. The rainforest climate supports an impressive collection of tropical plants from some of the most threatened environments on the planet. Some are even extinct in the wild.

Crossrail Place Gardens
Attractions, Parks and gardens

Crossrail Place Gardens

icon-location-pin Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf's Crossrail station won't actually have any trains in it until December 2018, but the perks it's bringing to the area are already starting to flourish, and this one literally. The Crossrail Place roof gardens are covered almost entirely by a lattice of timber and air-filled plastic cushions which opens in the centre to allow a bit of the actual natural world in, come rain or shine.

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Boundary Rooftop

icon-location-pin Shoreditch

Sun shining but it's hat-and-scarf chilly? What you need is something to let the light in and keep the cold out. This Shoreditch rooftop bar boasts a beautiful heated orangery featuring lemon, clementine, calamondin and mimosa trees, and is open daily from 10am. Stop by for all-day cocktails: hot negronis to warm you up, jugs of spritz to cool you down.

Attractions, Parks and gardens

Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens

icon-location-pin Kew

Home to various events and festivals, Kew Gardens is one of the most famous in the world. The Princess of Wales Conservatory has an impressive ten climatic zones, which means that it’s the most complicated conservatory at Kew. From cacti to ferns, orchids to titan arum (that's a really stinky plant, to you and me), this conservatory seems to have the entire world under one roof.

Museums, History

Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising

icon-location-pin Ladbroke Grove

This colourful and nostalgia-rich collection of chocolate wrappers, royal souvenirs, toys, magazines and much more moved to a new home over winter. Its new digs include a bright, sunny cafe with glass walls overlooking a pretty garden. If the weather allows, marvel at the modern branding on your teabag at an outside table.

Attractions, Historic buildings and sites

Chiswick House and Gardens

icon-location-pin Chiswick

The 18th-century Chiswick House is a European fantasy. There’s a lot on offer at this Italian-inspired villa and gardens in west London, but the conservatory is the jewel in its crown. Why? Because it includes one of the last two remaining ‘Middlemist Red’ camellias, the rarest in the world.

Things to do

Horniman Museum Conservatory

icon-location-pin Forest Hill

Part of the fascinatingly quirky Horniman Museum and Gardens, the Horniman Conservatory is an incredible grade II listed structure. It was originally created in the nineteenth century, and more recently renovated with the help of English Heritage - now also serving as a space for performances ranging from music to film to poetry. Lovely stuff.

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